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Source: WNYT Albany

Environmental advocates call for reinstatement of Grannis

Posted: October 24, 2010
Originally Published: October 22, 2010

ALBANY - The head of the state Environmental Conservation department said he was fired Thursday by Gov. David Paterson's top aide after his memo criticizing the governor's plan to cut staff was leaked.

A number of environmental advocates said Grannis stood up to Paterson, so now they're standing up for Grannis.

"When someone like Pete Grannis says this agency is hanging on by a thread people ought to listen, instead Paterson's Administration fired him," said Laura Haight, New York Public Interest Research Group.

One legislator calls it, the mugging of mother nature. DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis was fired Thursday. Governor Paterson's top aide Larry Schwartz reportedly contacted Grannis after the memo was leaked earlier this week and fired him for insubordination.

"Yesterday the top environmental cop in the state was fired for telling the truth," said William Cooke, Citizens Campaign.

DEC was told to lay off 209 employees, on top of 260 workers who took the early retirement incentive. That leaves the agency with a 23% reduction in its work force since 2007-2008.

"We're not just talking about animals and fish, we're talking about human beings, and whether they're going to be healthy and grow up healthy in New York State," said John Sheehan, Adirondack Council.

Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone, who at many times has not seen eye to eye with Grannis, says now he's gained more respect for him.

"Three cheers for the commissioner for caring, Commissioner Grannis," said Stone. "He did the right thing being insubordinate and insubordination is not always bad. This is a case where it was the right thing to do, fighting for the department."